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Monday, February 7, 2011

FERPA and Social Media

FERPA has been cited to me as a reason not to ask students to publish work outside of the password protected learning management system.  I tend to disagree for the reasons given in this post FERPA and Social Media: Common Sense Guidelines.  Content restrictions are not what FERPA is about and, more importantly, students lose if we are required to keep them and their work in a walled garden.  In fact I like the idea of authentic writing assignments which are connected to the community at large.  In a recent post The Innovative Educator, Lisa Nielsen, ( listed 10 reasons to use technology in teaching.  #6 is:
 Authentic Publishing In the 21st century, irrelevant hand-it-in teaching should be a thing of the past.  If a student’s work has no authentic audience beyond the teacher, it shouldn’t be assigned.  A student who is self-motivated to do something, counts, btw.  A teacher directing him/her to do it does not.  Most 21st century kids love to share with real audiences and are doing it outside school already.  Inside school, work should not sit lifeless on a computer, or even just the school website.  Support students in finding real audiences for their work in their Global Community.  If you’re not sure how find out by reading, “21st Century Educators Don’t Say, “Hand It In.” They say, “Publish It!”
I haven't met this goal yet - my students are still writing essays for no one other than me.  This semester I am thinking of changing at least one essay into a letter to their congressional representative or someone else of their choosing with a supported recommendation on an economic policy.  They don't have to send it, but it might be more interesting to write and it might help them focus on economics in a useful way.  

How do you make your class relevant to learners?


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